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  • Her favourite word is important.

Conservative MP for Kamloops—Thompson—Cariboo (B.C.)

Won her last election, in 2011, with 52.20% of the vote.

Statements in the House

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, again, I thank my colleague for his passion and his desire to see people living on a good wage. However, again, I have to say that we have used a very blunt instrument with unintended consequences, when other options would probably be more effective.

I have a couple of questions. The member talked about hundreds of thousands of people, and certainly both the Liberals and Conservatives have referenced the numbers that we believe would be impacted, and they are certainly significantly low. Could the member give the reference in terms of hundreds of thousands and where that is actually coming from?

The other piece is that the literature I have read has consistently talked about the negative impact. This is from economists across the country. Many studies have said that actually we could be hurting the people we are intending to help the most in terms of job availability. Could the member speak to those issues?

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would like to focus in our youth and on a fairly blunt instrument in achieving what the NDP is trying to achieve, while things like the working income tax benefit and other measures would be much more appropriate.

The NDP has certainly expressed concerns over the increase in unpaid internships, but there are studies out there. British Columbia amalgamated a number of different studies that happened over 30 years into one study. It indicated that as the minimum wage went up, the impact on youth was anywhere from a 6.9% to a 30% decrease in jobs. Therefore, this will significantly impact youth. The study also showed that the majority of those working in minimum wage jobs, over 80%, lived at home with their families.

What is the NDP suggesting we do about the profound impact that this would have on youth and the unemployment rate?

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I would also like to welcome the member for Trinity—Spadina to the House. I am sure we will have a good year of debate forthcoming over a number of different issues.

What I would like to note of particular interest is that the Liberal government had many years, but the results for low income people are really coming in under our government. We have the lowest number. The low income cut-off level is down to 8.8%, the lowest in Canadian history. We have the working income tax benefit. We have measure after measure that have made a real difference in people's lives, such as lowering the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%.

However, I do want to note that it was the Liberals and the NDP who both supported the transition to going with the provincial rates. I have always believed that, for items like this, sometimes communities and even micro-communities are in the best position to make decisions about wages. Again I note the opposition flip-flop, but is the member really saying that he does not trust the provinces to be able to deal with this issue in a comprehensive and appropriate way?

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, the member for Davenport spent a great deal of time talking about youth, youth unemployment, and unpaid internships. That is a very important area for us to discuss.

As we all know, the percentage of unemployed youth is much too high. It is important to note that our government recently committed $40 million for paid internship programs. We have done a number of different measures to actually try to support youth employment.

What I would like to focus on is that we know that there are going to be pluses and minuses in any minimum wage increase in any particular province. Have the NDP members looked at the impact in terms of youth unemployment? Have they done their homework to actually bring this message to the table?

Youth are incredibly important. The unemployment rate is a concern to all of us.

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, my colleague from Mississauga—Streetsville really talked about this measure as being symbolic. He talked about it as being perhaps a bit of a stunt that would impact very few workers.

NDP provincial governments had the jurisdiction and the ability to make changes when they were in power. What did those governments actually do when they were in power and could have made those changes? As we know, the parties are very closely aligned provincially and federally. What was the reality for those provincial governments?

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, previous to my colleague giving his speech we heard from the member for Acadie—Bathurst. He talked about how he thought the government was not taking good care of workers in this country. I would like my colleague to talk further about some of those measures that we have introduced that really have strong, positive impact and support for workers. He mentioned a few but I would like him to have an opportunity to talk more about those.

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I have to say that I am proud of the record of our government in terms of what we have done for people across this country, whether it is seniors and income splitting, the working income tax benefit, the biggest increase to GIS in many years, or the universal child care benefit. We have a record of achieving results. We now have the lowest level of people living below the poverty line, 8.8%. That is an amazing record. The NDP has voted against all of those measures.

The New Democrats have also said that the provinces were doing a good job so they would vote to switch to the minimum wage of the provinces and then decided to switch back. Then they are having conversations with respect to the enormous cost of living in Vancouver, as one member mentioned, and another member from New Brunswick indicated that they want to cover the cost of living, and they are recognizing that the cost of living is very different across this country.

I would again ask the hon. member this. The provinces are in a good position. There are many experts who suggest we would be better off to have micro-regions within the provinces rather than having a very blunt instrument to achieve the results the NDP is trying to achieve.

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I find it ironic that NDP members supported moving to the system that we have now and as well are acknowledging that only a few people would be affected.

Obviously every person is important. Things like providing the working income tax benefit, splitting pension plans for seniors, and lowering the GST had an impact on all Canadians. NDP members flip, they flop, they support aligning it with the provinces, they do not support it, and this is a new position.

More importantly, I would like to understand the analysis they did, because with every benefit there might be, there are also negatives, and those have been clearly identified in the research.

What impact is this going to have on youth and the youth unemployment rate in this country? We know there will be some impact, so if we are going to have a full debate, apart from the fact that New Democrats do not support the measures that will have the most impact, what would be the impact on youth and youth unemployment of the measure that they are proposing today?

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I want to reiterate that the number of Canadians living below the low-income cut-off is now 8.8%. It is the lowest number in Canada's history.

I find it very unusual. Many years ago, when we moved from a federal system to aligning with the provincial system, the NDP supported the change. It talks a good talk, but it actually supported the original change. Then the NDP voted against the working income tax benefit. It voted against the reduction of the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%. It voted against pension income splitting for seniors. Now it supports flip-flopping and going back to something that it actually voted to change.

It is going to affect very few people, so if my hon. colleague cares about people on low income, how can she justify to her constituents her vote against all of those very important measures that we introduced, measures that have had a dramatic effect? How can she justify to her constituents voting against things like the working income tax benefit and pension splitting for seniors?

Business of Supply September 16th, 2014

Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the comments by the Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of National Revenue and for the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency.

I think we did clearly articulate what the upcoming labour needs will be across this country. My children are in their twenties; I had thought the world would totally be their oyster because the baby boomers would have moved on, although the baby boomers are a little slower in moving on. We have some enormous challenges ahead of us in terms of our labour workforce, and that is where our government is focused.

I would like to bring up the working income tax benefit and a number of important initiatives that we have introduced to help people with lower incomes: the average family of four now saves $3,500; we reduced the GST from 7% to 6% to 5%; we have introduced measures in terms of supporting families; seniors' pension splitting is another measure that has really supported families. It is an important debate to be really focused on what the upcoming labour needs will be in this country, and we have some huge challenges ahead.